House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Constituency Statements

Lingiari Electorate: Government Initiatives

10:37 am

Photo of Marion ScrymgourMarion Scrymgour (Lingiari, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

CRYMGOUR () (): Over my long period of public service in the Northern Territory I've seen many federal governments come and go. Many have purported to care for, and have a focus on, the Territory. Former governments, particularly those on the conservative side, have spoken strong words when it comes to the Territory, but they've had very little appetite for the policy grunt and nuance required to address systemic and persistent changes. It is easy to get stories about Territory disadvantage on the front page of media outlets; it is much harder to develop and implement solutions.

I rise to speak about what's different about the Albanese government. Our government is embarking on policy correction for the Territory. It is not an easy one, but after decades of neglect it is a necessary one. We are reforming the CDEP, or Community Development Employment Project; bringing jobs back to the bush; and supporting local communities, particularly in my electorate of Lingiari, to drive economic development and enterprise.

We are reforming the EPBC Act, working to establish a water trigger, thus protecting the most vital resource in the Territory. We are investing heavily in social infrastructure, in Freds Pass and the Katherine pool; upgrading campgrounds; resurfacing netball courts; and building new facilities and infrastructure in Alice Springs. We are investing heavily in Central Australia. Central Australia has long been left behind, with insufficient investment even in comparison to other communities in the territory. Our record investment in Central Australia will see major upgrades to infrastructure and a boost in funding for youth engagement.

Finally, for FASD, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, we are implementing assessments. We are providing critical housing for women and children fleeing domestic violence, improved security for Alice Springs and long-overdue support for our Centralian schools.

The work is being driven by and advised on by the Aboriginal Leadership Group, supported by our local regional controller, Dorrelle Anderson, who is doing a fantastic job. This means policy is not determined in Canberra but by listening to people on the ground. For the first time in a long time, those members—Les Turner, Josie Douglas, Graeme Smith, our all-important grandmothers group and many more—are listening and acting.

It's not without its challenges, but finally it's supported by a federal government willing to tackle the enduring issues that we have been facing, issues which are intractable and often have been thrown to the curb side because they've been too hard to deal with. Finally, we're getting and working towards the many solutions that certainly Alice Springs and Central Australia has needed for a long time.